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Making Social Connections in Middle School

By Nicole Brown, Assistant Head of Middle School

One of our goals in the Middle School is to incite joy each and every day. We work hard in our building, and we also take fun very seriously. This year our efforts begin each morning at carpool, where a team of faculty and staff meet bright and early each morning in the parking lot to personally greet every student exiting their car with an enthusiastic “Good morning!” 

Connections, both figurative and literal, are so important at this moment in time, and so we have re-imagined ways to build community. We are using time we spend in Advisory and our Community Time each day to mindfully connect, laugh and enjoy our time together. We have played “Simon Says” and trivia games over the intercom and on Zoom as an entire division and in our grade-level groups. We engage in Kahoot competitions and we participate in spirit-building themed dress-up days.

Our Student Government elections took place with live speeches projected into classrooms, and we hold weekly student-led “assemblies” this way as well. Our virtual learners always have the ability to connect in Advisory or during Community Time via Zoom so that everyone can participate in and enjoy the meetings in real time.

As Greg Anysz, Middle School Dean of Students said, “Teachers and students are working creatively to continue to encourage play.” 

Some of the FUN going on with individual teachers in the Middle School: 

  • Mrs. Morgan starts each day with a brain teaser. (This has become a daily competition!) 

  • Mr. McLean plays music in the mornings and calls out facts about the artist, lyrics and historical relevance.

  • Mrs. Vande Berg reads mystery stories aloud. 

  • Mrs. Martin’s group sometimes watches movies from the Keim Center’s database during Advisory.

  • Ms. McCall’s advisees lead yoga and meditation sessions with one another.

At recess students play bocce (with safety and cleaning procedures in place), draw, race, sing and even play Foot-Four-Square, a new game invented by seventh-grade students. 

We are learning that — while we do need to maintain physical distance — we do not need to be socially distant! Despite the challenges of 2020, the Ravenscroft Middle School continues to build community and connect in meaningful (and fun) ways. 

Watch a "Day in the Life of Middle School" here